Science, Education, and Equity at this Year’s IBS New York

03/09/2024

International Beauty Show (IBS) New York is always a whirlwind of trends and innovations, but this year The Powerhouse Pavilion: Celebrating Black Beauty Entrepreneurs Powered by Mayavana had a jam-packed schedule filled with panels and industry heavyweights. One segment specifically stood out to me, a panel discussion titled “Deep Conditioning: Exploring Solutions to Bring Equitable Change in Beauty.”

Led by Celebrity Stylist Faatemah Ampey, the panel featured industry leaders like Hairbrained’s Gerard Scarpaci, MUA Rodney Jon, Journalist Stephenetta (Isis) Harmon, and Educator Stephen Adams. The panelists explored opportunities for growth in our industry. Topics about education, the science of hair and equity were front and center. The overall takeaway was that hair should be cared for from a scientific approach and when you explore the fabric you will learn how to care for it.

Hair requires a deep understanding of its anatomy and structure. What works best for the hair depends on many factors such as how the follicle grows from the scalp, as well as porosity, texture and its overall condition.There are various configurations and combinations of hair types and textures. The analysis of the scalp and hair shaft and their specific needs goes beyond kinky, curly, wavy, or straight. These are all parts that make the whole and should be common knowledge of any haircare professional whether a cosmetologist, a natural haircare stylist or braider. Hair is the core part of our profession, and understanding its vast needs is our responsibility to the client.

Education emerged as another key theme, Stephenetta (Isis) Harmon highlighted the need for inclusive educational standards that ensure everyone feels welcome and not “othered” in the learning process. As many cosmetologists have had the experience of feeling othered or not represented due to the lack of diversity during their education process. This resonated deeply with me, as I, and many of my peers, have had this experience. The key is to diversify education not just in appearance but also in expertise and perspectives. These are crucial components to creating a truly equitable industry.

Gerard Scarpaci offered a powerful statement, acknowledging the progress made towards “representation” while emphasizing the need for continued action. He stressed that while “the industry is better, it’s not great and it’s not fixed,” and that prioritizing the commitment for representation when putting together teams for projects is essential.

The discussion also delved into the power dynamics within the industry. The panelists highlighted the notion that consumers dictate marketing trends, while also emphasizing how licensed and trained professionals have dedicated themselves to continuing education are often undervalued. Their expertise should be at the helm of product development and client care. I was able to ask Faatemah what her overall goal was for this panel, she replied “it was to move our industry forward by creating actionable and impactful change to represent all spectrum’s of beauty”.

Leaving the Powerhouse Pavilion, I felt energized and hopeful about the future of haircare. The emphasis on science, education, and equity offers a roadmap for a more inclusive and empowering industry. While challenges remain, the voices of these change-makers inspire me to believe that a future where expertise is valued, knowledge is shared, and everyone feels seen is within reach. As long as we all continue to do our part, keep having the conversations, and leaving room to listen beyond our own potential bias. We have the opportunity to create an industry that practices what it preaches. Rodney Jon powerfully stated, “It starts with education and change starts with you!”

As an expert in the haircare industry, I believe this shift towards science-based education and equitable practices are the key. This is a conversation I wholeheartedly support and actively contribute to in my own practice as an Educator and founding member of the Natural Hairstyle & Braid Coalition. We are preserving the legacy of natural haircare through education and legislation on a global scale.

Remember, we all have a role to play in creating a more equitable industry.

I encourage you to expand your learning and try something new. Introduce yourself to a fellow professional you want to learn from. Share your skills with up and coming Pros. Visit my online platform www.hairsteam.education to explore professional education opportunities that will enhance your career.

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Erin H. Maybin

Erin H. Maybin is a licensed Cosmetologist in NY, Pa & Ca, Educator, Advocate, and influential member of the NYS Appearance Enhancement Advisory Committee. As EVP of Education Development and co-founder of the Natural Hairstyle & Braid Coalition Erin spearheads the transformation of textured hair education in both private and public sectors. Her groundbreaking initiative, Hair S.T.E.A.M. LAB™ is an education platform that explores the science and artistry of hair using steam.

Learn more here www.hairsteam.education

Follow me @erinhmaybin and @the_nhbc

Let’s connect www.erinhmaybin.com

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